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What do you think of Wicca?
It's an exciting and dynamic ancient religion. 46%
It's a bunch of lame New Age ideas dressed up as a dynamic and exciting ancient religion. 33%
Those people have seen "Bambi" too many times. 3%
Burn the witches! 10%
It's a form of psychotherapy. 3%
It's evidence that some people need psychotherapy. 3%

Votes: 30

 The Revival of the Ancient Ways

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Jul 24, 2001
as told to reporters
by High Priest Pan of the Coven of 41, Santa Cruz, California, USA

This article presents a brief introduction to modern Wicca by one of its priests. It is particularly important at this time due to the recent assaults on Wicca in the press, not the least of which was the suggestion on that ducking stools be installed in high school swimming pools -- a not-exactly-subtle call for a return to the medieval Burning Times. This article presents a more favourable view of this exciting and dynamic ancient religion.


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It is hardly a deniable fact anymore that Christianity, the standard European religion of the last two millennia, is on its last legs. From total domination of the Western world five hundred to a thousand years ago, it has fallen to the level of a minor voice in world affairs. While it continues to grow among the uneducated peoples of the third world (the islands of the South Pacific are now where it has the most success at acquiring new converts), Christianity has proven itself incompatible with our modern scientific understanding of the world. Its insistence on a literal "person of cosmic heft", as Shaw cleverly put it, and its claim that blood sacrifice (the death of the fictitious Jesus Christ, himself a pastiche of various Middle Eastern mythologies) can redeem sin, can no longer convince educated people. And where Christianity told us we would find an underground landscape of forked-tailed demons torturing the souls of the dead, modern science has found only molten rock.

However, this does not mean that the antiseptic, mechanical world-view of science is the only one possible for the well-educated modern man or woman. In fact, the latter part of the twentieth century (as Christians reckon it, at least -- we really need a new calendar now that the year 1 BC, or 4 BC, or whenever they now claim Jesus was born, is no longer of any significance to us) has seen a revival of a tradition much older than Christianity, yet paradoxically more in tune with our modern scientific understanding of the universe. This venerable ancient tradition is commonly called Wicca, or "witchcraft".

I imagine at this point some of my readers are wondering how incantations performed with the eye of a newt have anything to do with modern science, to say nothing of flying around on a broomstick or copulating with the Devil. The answer is that these things have nothing to do with real witchcraft; they are mad fantasies invented by the torturers of the Christian Inquisition during the Middle Ages, men driven mad by sexual repression to the point that they delighted in torturing the most deranged "confessions" out of peasant women, most of whom were themselves Christians. (One often encounters the claim that the "witches" killed by the Inquisition were actually Wiccans, and that the Inquisition was part of Christianity's attempt to stamp out all other religions. While this notion makes for nice melodrama, and allows modern Wiccans to take part in the general culture of victimhood that we have been suffering through for the last several years, it is not in any way supported by history. The sad truth is that the Inquisition was nothing even as rational as a conscious attempt by the adherents of one religion to force everyone else to believe as they did. It would be better described as an outburst of insane, vicious sadism, having more in common with Jack the Ripper and other mad sex killers than with world domination.)

Well, then, if the standard Hansel-and-Gretel version of witchcraft isn't Wicca, one might well ask what is. The answer could be very complex, as Wicca has as many aspects as the Goddess herself, but ultimately it comes down to the revival of traditions common among pre-Christian pagan ("pagan" essentially means "not Jewish" in this context) cultures of Europe and the Middle East. This, in turn, divides naturally into two categories: love of the Earth, and having one hell of a party. Next, I'll cover these two aspects in more detail.

One of the worst flaws of the secular scientific world-view is its focus on mechanism, its tendency to visualize everything as simply the result of unintelligent natural processes. It has no room for the spirit. This, of course, has a lot to do with the fact that we have lived for half a century now under the continual fear of nuclear war, since nuclear weapons are themselves one of the most signal creations of the scientific mind. No Wiccan would have been willing to invent machines capable of destroying all life on Earth, because our focus is not on temporal dominion but on what is best for the world as a whole and all its creatures. The Earth itself has a soul just as we humans do, and the advanced Wiccan can communicate with her just as easily as with other people. This is why the great modern Wiccan, Starhawk, wrote in her book The Spiral Dance, that when she is asked if she "really believes" in the Goddess, she replies, "Do you believe in rocks?" Once you have had this experience, you cannot deny the Goddess, and you understand that the worship of her must be the paramount force in your life.

As for the "hell of a party", well, I'm being mildly facetious there. But it is certainly true that Wiccan rituals are not only different from, but vastly more enjoyable than, the Catholic Mass. No boring Latin. No mock-celestial organ playing. No ridiculous costumes -- no costumes at all, in fact, as Wiccan ceremonials are typically performed in the nude. We sing and dance, and burn incense, and celebrate the Earth. It's a lot of fun, and very spiritually rewarding, too. Ishtar, my little daughter, is particularly fond of what she calls "the milk and cookies part", where we eat blessed little cakes and drink non-alcoholic wine to bring the essence of the Goddess into our bodies. (Some superficial critics of Wicca, such as the Rev. Aidan Kelly, have claimed that this sort of thing is evidence that Wicca is really just a perverted form of Christianity. This is not the case, however, and is no more so for Rev. Kelly's inability to distinguish between cakes and wafers.)

Whereas Christians have to go "confess their sins" and receive penance, Wicca takes a more positive attitude to spiritual guidance. We consult the Oracle in a tradition inherited from the ancient Babylonians. When a man has a serious question that only the Gods can answer, he goes to one of the Priestesses and performs a sacrifice with her. During the sacrifice, she enters a trance in which the voice of the Goddess speaks through her. She cries out the answer to the question at the climax of the sacrifice.

The consulting of the Oracle is a very serious and sublime ritual; some of our men are so devoted that they consult it daily, which is rather exhausting for the Priestesses since we currently have only three of them. It must be admitted, however, that even some Wiccans don't always approach the Oracle in the right spirit. One of our members coarsely refers to it as "consulting Janey's pussy," which is doctrinally incorrect. Janey is only her mundane birth name; in ritual contexts, it is proper to refer to her as Priestess Kybele Demeter Persephone.

Personally, my favorite part of the ancient ways is the revival of the old fertility rituals. I remember well my first midsummer ritual, when I was new to Wicca in the common year 1999. The high priestess took us all out to the little vegetable garden in her back yard in the Santa Cruz hills, and to celebrate and stimulate the growth of the tomatoes, we all threw ourselves down and had the most amazing orgy I had ever seen (well, I've seen better ones since, but that one, at the time, was quite a mind-blower for me). I apparently picked up a nasty case of the crabs that day, though I'm not quite sure from whom, but it was worth it.

Since starting my own coven after achieving the Grade of High Priest last year, I have been further developing the revival of ancient ways for the greater glory of the Goddess. A few months ago, we were joined by a lady who I don't think is Oracle material. Some might call her an "earth mother type", but in all honesty, I think "frumpy, middle-aged hausfrau" would be more to the point. But we let her join anyway (I gave her the holy name Hecate; she's learning how to handle the Crone aspect of the Goddess) because she brought her daughter along. Goddess, what a treasure, and only 14 years old! I immediately realized that we had sadly neglected another ancient tradition. This failing has now been corrected with the re-institution, for the first time in centuries, as far as I know, of droit du seigneur. This venerable ancient way provides for the proper attuning of a young lady's innocent, virginal soul to the Goddess by an infusion of male energy performed by the High Priest (in this case, me) in a ceremony of the Wand performed in total privacy. Our first ritual was enormously successful, and several of our other members are now asking me to do the same for their daughters. I had to explain to one parent that age 8 was a bit too early, which gives you an idea what an enthusiastic and devoted community we have. I mean, I'm as concerned for the spiritual welfare of 8-year-old girls as anyone, but mysteries can only be revealed at the proper time. She'll have to wait until she turns 12, just as my little Ishtar will.

I hope this brief introduction has sufficed to let all readers know of the healthy alternative that Wicca offers to the post-Christian secular world. Indeed, the world is not merely "dead matter"; it has a soul all its own, the Goddess herself, and it is with great joy that we, her worshippers, celebrate the Universe, which is itself Her incarnation.

Blessed be!


It is tradition (none / 0) (#5)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Jul 24th, 2001 at 04:51:35 PM PST
Wicca is in tune with the modern era because it recognises the elemental nature of life, and has a moral framework more in tune with what modern youngsters think.

It doesn't have baggage, like rules about coveting thy neighbour's ass. And with its elemental approach to life, there are no contradictions with modern science. Wicca describes a domain outside of the remit of science, so there won't ever be a contradiction.

Interesting article :))

i agree!!! (none / 0) (#7)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Jul 24th, 2001 at 07:32:25 PM PST
i think this article really shows how wicca is better than christianity!

This artical is nonsense (none / 0) (#8)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Jul 25th, 2001 at 06:30:16 AM PST
I have been studying and practicing Wicca and witchcraft for years. And never have I found anything about droit du seigneur. Wicca is not about orgies and sex. This artical is about a sexclub that also practises child molestation (droit du seigneur). Any body reading this artical this is not Wicca, this is nonsense

But wicca is about these things (none / 0) (#9)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Jul 25th, 2001 at 06:43:03 AM PST
Wicca is almost 7000 years old, and in that time it has picked up a substantial body acceptible behaviour. Why are the majority of tales about witches aimed at children? Why do broomsticks, cauldrons, toads and newts feature most prominently in children's literature?

Seems pretty obvious to me whats going on - the wiccan religion has for years been getting children attuned to its ways. People like the Brothers Grimm and Enid Blighton were but pagans, softening children for the cult. Nowadays, they are replaced by the sorceress who authored Harry Potter.

Terrible huh? But you wiccans won't get away with it. Stop publishing these children's books (you know what I mean) or the burning times will return, with interest. It is time to finish off what the Salem witchtrials could only begin.

but you know nothing about it (5.00 / 1) (#16)
by The Black Madonna on Wed Jul 25th, 2001 at 01:11:24 PM PST
First and foremost, Wicca has only been around since about the 1950's, part old tradition and partialy created by a man named Gerald Gardner. It is not 700 years old. Secondly, Wicca and witchcraft are not the same thing. Witchcraft is not a religion, it can and is practiced by non Wiccans and not all Wiccans practice witchcraft. And you should know that most of those killed in Salem during the burning times were not witches, but the innocent victims of some very twisted young girls. Anyone who could even joke about bringing back the burning times is seriously messed up in the head.

Furthermore, not everyone performs rituals skyclad. Not everyone belongs to a coven. Of all those I've met, not a one has mentioned orgies. And this article is the first time I've ever even heard the term "droit du seigneur".

Also please note that most childrens literature containging references to a witch is usually intended to scare the children, not make them think that "witches are cool".
"Mirrors on the ceiling, The pink champagne on ice And she said 'We are all just prisoners here, of our own device'"

Nice try, but not good enough (5.00 / 1) (#17)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Jul 25th, 2001 at 01:19:20 PM PST
Listen up Wiccan, your attempts to brush 7000 years of history under the carpet just isn't good enough. Gardner didn't found wicca, he merely brought it out of the closet and you know it.

The burning times are the answer. We have people who call themselves witches and do black magic here in modern America. Why? Because we got soft and stopped the burnings.

As for the salem women, well nice perversion of history deary but you know as well as I do that the girls admitted their guilt and confessed to being witches, and were dealt with accordingly.

All I'm saying is that we get rid of the wiccan problem and the hold of black magic on our teenagers by bringing back the burning times, banning all witch propaganda (esp. fairy tales) and then keeping a watchful eye to make sure the evil doesn't flare up again.

Frankly you are one of them and if I were you I'd watch out, that's all.

History (none / 0) (#20)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Jul 31st, 2001 at 05:56:06 AM PST
You talk about girls that confessed there sins. In those times girls where tortured in order to see if they where guilty. Someone makes up a story about a girl being a witch and the torture begins, It only stops if she dies (in that case she is innocent) or confesses, result she is burned as a witch.

So if the burning times return and someone dislikes you, you will be tortured untile confession or dead.

OK, so you're ignorant (none / 0) (#15)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Jul 25th, 2001 at 08:33:08 AM PST
If you weren't such an ignorant twit, you would know what droit du seigneur is. Look it up, for Christ's sake!

droit du seigneur (none / 0) (#21)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Jul 31st, 2001 at 06:27:50 AM PST
droit du seigneur: Under a law known as the droit du seigneur ("right of the lord"), medieval noblemen had the right to spend the first night with newly-wedded brides in their fiefdoms. This mains that droit du seigneur is nothing else than rape. If you think rape is okey.... than people like you are a problem, not wiccans.

Read carefully (none / 0) (#23)
by Mendax Veritas on Tue Jul 31st, 2001 at 09:20:22 AM PST
I don't think anyone here has said that rape is okay. Let's take this step by step:

1. Our reporter quoted a Wiccan High Priest as saying that his group has "reinstituted... droit du seigneur".

2. An "anonymous reader" claiming to be a student of Wicca said (s)he had never heard of droit du seigneur, as if this somehow constituted proof that it isn't part of Wicca --which it doesn't. Wicca's decentralized nature has led to quite a variety of practices, and it's not at all surprising that many Wiccans aren't familiar with all of them. The real surprise here, if anything, is that any Wiccan would claim (even implicitly) to know everything that Wiccans do, or to claim (even implicitly) the right to say what "is" or "isn't" Wicca. This leads me to doubt the credentials of the first "anonymous reader", who may well simply be a troll.

3. Another "anonymous reader" accused the first one of being ignorant, and suggested (s)he look up the term if (s)he wanted to know what it meant.

I don't see anything anywhere in there (except, of course, in the words of the Wiccan leader who we quoted, and for which we take no reponsibility, other than for the accuracy of the quotation) anyone suggesting that rape (or droit du seigneur) is morally acceptable.

Incidentally, in the context of the laws of the time, droit du seigneur was, by definition, not rape, which was a crime even in those unenlightened times. It is, in a sense, a purely legal distinction, sort of like the difference between murder and government-sponsored execution, but it is a distinction nevertheless.

droit du seigneur (none / 0) (#22)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Jul 31st, 2001 at 06:31:06 AM PST
The use of political power (or any exalted position in society) as a means of gaining entry into women's beds has been with us for thousands of years. The name of this phenomenon has changed over the years (from ius primae noctus to droit de seigneur to "the master's obligation" to sexual harrassment), but the concept has remained the same.

Dammit! (none / 0) (#10)
by hyacinth on Wed Jul 25th, 2001 at 06:51:47 AM PST
I remember well my first midsummer ritual...we all threw ourselves down and had the most amazing orgy I had ever seen (well, I've seen better ones since, but that one, at the time, was quite a mind-blower for me).
I was a devout Wiccan in high school, and I never got invited to have any wild monkey orgiastic sex. Must have joined the wrong coven.


Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.

Anyone notice (5.00 / 2) (#11)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Jul 25th, 2001 at 06:54:21 AM PST
The similarity of the word 'WICcan' with 'WICked". Both start with WIC and also are the same length. Coincidence? I think not.

I see the Lord is trying to tell us something through this, which is to get those heretics burning....

It then follows... (3.50 / 2) (#12)
by hyacinth on Wed Jul 25th, 2001 at 07:05:10 AM PST
The similarity of the word 'WICcan' with 'WICked". Both start with WIC and also are the same length. Coincidence? I think not. may be on to something there.

Following this line of reasoning leads us to the inevitable conclusion that WICker and WICket are also to be avoided. Which means an immediate boycott of white woven porch furniture and croquet!


Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.

And 'God' and 'Dog' (1.00 / 1) (#13)
by greyrat on Wed Jul 25th, 2001 at 07:55:37 AM PST
So should we be worshipping Spot, or putting Him to sleep?

Re: And 'God' and 'Dog' (5.00 / 1) (#14)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Jul 25th, 2001 at 08:31:36 AM PST
God is dead. Kill your dog.

wicca isn't a religion (1.00 / 1) (#18)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Jul 27th, 2001 at 05:03:24 PM PST
It's a form of rebellion for a bunch of whining little goth girls who need to be put to the cock.

Who are you? (4.00 / 1) (#19)
by Seithman on Sun Jul 29th, 2001 at 11:07:41 AM PST
You know, I've talked to several Wiccans, including some 3* Gardnerians. And while your comments hold some amount of truth to them, your overall descriptions of and attitudes towards Wicca certainly seem quite short of the mark. You speak of reaching the "grade" (degree?) of High Priest. Under what tradition? And how is it that you did this by summer of 2001 when you just had your first Midsummer ritual in 1999? While not a hard-fast rule, it is my understanding that most traditions and covens require an Initiate to celebrate the full wheel of the year at each degree before their next elevation.

Otherwise, you've said some interesting things.

This worries me... (none / 0) (#24)
by Anonymous Reader on Wed Mar 27th, 2002 at 09:13:00 AM PST
I've realized through reading this article some of the many reasons that so many people have misconceptions about pagans. One of the many things that we're taught as pagans is not to tell our secrets. Many of us follow that, but the ones who don't, and actually do the orgies and things, and TELL people about it. Now that's just not right. Articles like these spur on the writing of articles that promote burning us at the stake. I personally don't want MY children participating in orgies, would not participate in one myself, and wouldn't approve of it happening in my neighborhood, either. Your practices do not offend me as long as they're doen with consenting adults, but the writing publically about it does. I'm appalled that you could think that this might help anyone at all unless you're trying to help the people who don't understand build a case against us. Please, in the future, keep it to yourself.


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